Fuelling India for the Future

 


India is emerging as one of the fastest growing countries in the world with a GDP growth exceeding 8% consistently for the past couple of years and this trend is expected to continue. Energy being the driver of this growth its availability is of the utmost importance to sustain this level of growth. India’s energy consumption has almost doubled since 2000 and the potential for further rapid growth is enormous. The official projections show that the energy demand is expected to be more than three to four times the current level   in   another 25 years. India has established its renewable energy and technology goals to meet this growing demand. Policy-makers need to responsibly chart a way forward for the energy sector that is distinctive: more secure, more sustainable, more innovative. Efforts at national and state levels need to be intensified to ensure that this renewable energy is a spur to India’s advancement, with focus on energy efficiency, energy security and pricing reform. 

Bio Energy – The Future

India’s energy challenges are multi-pronged. They are manifested through growing demand for modern energy carriers, a fossil fuel   dominated energy system facing a severe resource crunch, the need for creating access to quality energy for the large section of deprived population, vulnerable energy security, local and global pollution regimes and the need for sustaining economic development. Renewable energy is considered as one of the most promising alternatives. Among the renewable energy technologies, bio energy has a large diverse portfolio including efficient biomass stoves, biogas, biomass combustion and gasification and process heat and liquid fuels. India has also formulated and implemented a number of innovative policies and programmes to promote bio energy technologies.

However effectiveness of bio energy in creating urban as well as rural energy access and its sustainability in the long run needs to be carefully analysed. This multifold analysis can be done through -

 

  • Assessing the demand for bio energy and potential that could be created.
  • Technologies, status of commercialization and technology transfer and dissemination in India.
  • Economic, social and environmental performance and impacts.
  • Bio energy policies, regulatory measures and barrier analysis.

Results show that bio energy technology alternatives compare favourably with the conventional ones. The techno-economic and environmental assessments, combined with the discussion on technology transfer and commercialization status, barriers and their removal strategies and policy and institutional mechanisms, attempts to present the case  of bio energy technologies as  a strategic alternative to create access to modern energy.

Bio Energy – For Power, Heat and Transport

India has a large biomass resource base derived from forests, plantations , forestry residues, agricultural and agro- industrial residues, and animal, municipal and industrial wastes which is currently being utilized inefficiently. In addition to its proper utilisation large tracts of wastelands are utilized for growing of biomass. Corporate bodies can organize groups of farmers to produce the required biomass under contract through development of wastelands. This energy can then be utilized for thermal or electrical energy generation.

 

Cooking, bath-water heating, and operation of kilns are the most dominant activities which require heat energy. There are   three bio energy options for meeting the dominant cooking energy needs, namely shifting to efficient cook stoves, biogas and methanol. While methanol finds its way to be the gaseous fuel for cooking ethanol emerges mainly as transportation fuel.

The advantage of bio energy is that it uses a significantly smaller amount of biomass resources as input for providing higher quantity as well as quality of energy services for a greater number of people compared to the conventional   process.  They   are    environmentally friendly and reduce indoor pollution significantly while improving the living standards of the rural poor.

Bio Energy – A Radical Shift

To meet growing needs and mange import bill and energy security, we need to create the new economy as a thinking society. India has challenges to cope up with global developments and mitigate emissions. Amongst growing need of transportation and electricity an alternate fuel economy is the need of the hour. The fossil fuel based energy needs to be synergized with bio energy and an India specific new economy model is in conception. More projects like the ethanol blending are into process and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is doing every of its bit to contribute towards imbibing new technologies to enhance bio fuel production.

Bio energy generation has significant potential to contribute to India’s growing energy needs and technology along with financial incentives and policy measures is being put into place to accelerate the investment in this sector. Challenges like availability of biomass at economical prices and competition between different markets are being addressed through various schemes. Bio energy in the coming future will surely play an important and crucial role in India’s inclusive growth story.